Heart of Steel: Interviews

Interview with Christer Espevoll of Extol

Interview and forward by Grave Angel

Transcription by Vermin Bratwurst
Photo credits: Rolf Anders Storset

Extol was born in Norway in the fall of 1993. David Husvik (drums) and Christer Espevoll (guitar) had been jamming together for a few months and wanted to start a band. Though the two were but 16 years of age, they chose Peter Espevoll to front the band when he was a mere 14 years old. The band played their first gig in the spring of 1994, after adding Eystein Holm on bass just before the show. In 1995 Extol added a second guitarist, Emil Nikolaisen. As Extol played all the local shows they started to build a name in the local scene.

In January 1996 Extol recorded three songs for a Norwegian metal compilation that was released by Australian Rowe Productions. Shortly thereafter they left home for the first time to play a gig in Stockholm, Sweden. A few months later, Nikolaisen left to focus on another band and Extol added Ole Børud to replace him.

In the late summer of 1997 the band independently recorded their first full length album BURIAL. But the following year was in many ways a breakthrough year for Extol. They signed with Endtime Productions, played their first shows in the USA and then were able to license BURIAL for distribution in the USA and Japan. 1998 also saw Holm leave the band and Tor Magne Glidje come in to replace him. In 1999 Extol released the ep MESMERIZED with an industrial twist on three songs from BURIAL.

In December of 1999 the band recorded UNDECEIVED, an album which turned out to be heavier and darker than BURIAL. A few months later Børud exited the band and Tor Magne stepped in as the second guitarist. During this time, Jon Robert Mjåland would join the band on bass.

In November and December 2001 Extol did their first European tour outside Scandinavia. After the release of UNDECEIVED, their obligation to Endtime was fulfilled. In March of 2002, after more than a year of negotiating, Extol signed with Century Media. 2003 would bring the release of their Century Media debut, the fist-pumping SYNERGY. SYNERGY showcases a band on the rise, with it's somewhat progressive and thrashy technical metal that sprinkles clean vocals with lead vocals that come across as a mix between a black metal rasp and hardcore.

I know there are 5 band members in Extol, are you all from Norway?




What part are you from?

All of us live in Oslo, or near Oslo. That's where we all are from, except for the bass player. He is from farther south.



How was Extol formed?

We formed about 10 years ago. David, Peter, and I were the original members of the band.



Whose idea was it to start Extol?

It was my and David's idea, jamming together, and just wanted to start a band. After a while we asked Peter to join.



What style of music would you say Extol plays?

I would say we play melodic metal with a thrash approach. I think it is kind of hard to categorize us because we have a lot of different elements. It's hard to pin it down to one style or category.



Which one of your CD's would you consider the most successful?

Definitely SYNERGY, our newest release. The music, production, lyrics, and almost everything make it the most successful.



So, you would consider it your favorite?

Yes. BURIAL was our first album, and we were very happy back then. It would be the same way with UNDECEIVED, our second album. They all kind of belong to different eras of Extol. But right now, I believe SYNERGY would be our best album.



What bands or individuals would you say most influenced Extol?

It would definitely be the bands we grew up listening to. Believer, early Tourniquet, early Mortification, and Galactic Cowboys. Death, Messhugah and Rush also influenced us. We have a lot of diversity in our CD collection.



What equipment do you guys use?

Marshall and Ibanez.



What are you thoughts on the subject of signing with Century Media?

We are very happy that we did. They are doing a very good job for us. We are looking forward to continuing to wok with them. They are a big label, and they have a lot of contacts. Hopefully we will go on tour with other Century Media bands.



How did your summer tour with The Agony Scene and Demon Hunter go?

It went very well. It was a very good tour, and played many sold out shows. The people in Demon Hunter and The Agony Scene are very nice people. We had a very good time.



Do you have a favorite show that you guys played on tour?

I think we had 4 or 5 shows that were really up there. We did a show at Corona in L.A. which was so packed it was unbelievable. It was really fun to play. The official quantity of people the place was allowed to hold was like 450, but I think there was close to like 700 people there.



Knowing you guys are a Christian band, do you consider your band a ministry?

Not really.

So it's more like an expression of your own feelings?

Definitely. Were Christians, but we don't play metal because we are Christians. It's not like it's the only reason we play metal. We play metal because we like to play metal. Our lyrics contain issues about Christianity, but that is just an expression of who we are and what is important in our lives.



Did most of you go to the same church when you formed? Were you all raised in Christian families?

Yes. Yeah.



Did you take guitar lessons or are you self taught?

I'm self-taught. All of us are self-taught.



Do any of you have side projects you are working on?

Peter and John play in a band called Ganglion.



Are they on a record label?

No. They just released a demo cd. My guess is that they will be on a record label. David is in a band with the old guitarist of Spiral Architect. Also, David and I have a thrash project called Absurd. It's not real serious, it's just whenever we have time, which is almost never. Our goal is to release and album sometime.



Do any of you know any of the other guys in Century Media bands?

We know a couple of the guys from Borknagar.



Your new album rocks with an unholy vengeance. Can I say "unholy" around you?

Um, yeah. Sure.



Well, it was nice talking to you.

Alright, bye.

Official homepage: www.undeceived.net